This must be the place, because Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back from a long break, and we’re ready to roll straight to the War Infinity, with a brief, but awesome stop in Wakanda along the way. SHIELD is a television show that takes place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This statement is true to certain degrees, depending on your level of optimism or pessimism.

The show was born after Avengers as a vehicle to expand the cinematic universe beyond the movies, to help create and explain the world created by Tony Stark in a cave with a box of scraps. Whether or not the show is canon, on the level of the movies themselves or the movie tie-in comics that explained Fury’s Really Busy Week My God, is completely up for debate. Some seasons feel more connected than others, and sometimes it feels like the movies go out of their way to avoid having SHIELD in their mouths.

But this two hour season premier (which I maintain is practically a mini-movie, just like the season openers for Agent Carter) shows that SHIELD deserves to be part of the conversation. It’s bold, makes hard left turns that throw us through loops, and yet remains familiar for this cinematic universe.

SPOILERS LIVE HERE. SPOILERS FOR EVERYTHING, UP TO AND INCLUDING 4VENGERS!!

We know that Captain Marvel, which comes out in 2019, takes place in the “recent” past. Why not have SHIELD explore the “potential” future?

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I mentioned a road straight for Infinity, because that’s the ultimate culmination of the MCU as we know it. Almost every movie that has come since The Dark World has tied in to SHIELD in some way, with varying mileage. The biggest tie in was Winter Soldier, what with those pesky Hydra infiltrators and all. The smallest? Ant-Man, expectedly, what with a short reference to an incident at a Pym facility and all. Be it the refurbishing of the Helicarrier or expanding on the Kree mythos, the movies have generally affected the show more than the other way around. Fury noted in Ultron that he got the Helicarrier with help from some friends, and we learn in SHIELD that Coulson’s team is the one that tipped off the Avengers to the location of Strucker’s base.

But as time has gone on, the connections have grown dimmer. Be it contractual, the ever growing complexity of the MCU itself, scheduling, the growth of SHIELD’s own universe, or all of the above, the truth remains: It’s highly unlikely that SHIELD will have a solid impact on Infinity War.

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Unless, the future that the team was transported to by the Pamplona Monolith is a potential future where the Avengers fail and Thanos has his way. Maybe this arc isn’t so much about stopping the Earth from being destroyed but more about getting back to help out.

Think about it: What good would it do to send someone to a future where the Earth is destroyed? Why not send them back to prevent whatever is coming? If information is what they are going to the future for, isn’t it kind of redundant, because the fact that some organization (that I am sure Fitz and Hunter are going to get the details on) sent them to the future, there was obviously a goal in mind. If this organization knows something is coming, why not just tell them and send them on their merry way?

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It also wouldn’t make sense to send someone to the future to save someone, because if they do change the fate of the world once they come back, whatever saving they did would be for naught, because their actions back in their time would have cancelled all that out.

Nothing makes sense, and this is why I love this show so damn much. It’s the fifth season, and they still have curve balls to throw. I think this arc serves two purposes for the MCU: To show the team first hand what is coming, and to prime us, the audience, for the cosmic nature of the next Avengers movie.

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Think about that, too: Any time the movies make a left turn, SHIELD follows, but lingers on the subject to further explore the implications in the greater MCU. When Cap gave his orders and took on Hydra, SHIELD took up the reigns and explored what that meant for the rest of the world beyond the Triskelion. When Guardians introduced us to all those awesome alien races, SHIELD took the time to explore the Kree and their history with Earth. The Dark World gave us Sif and Asgard’s unnatural love for Midgard. There were originally plans for an Inhumans movie about the royal family, and Daisy and her family and Squid Ward were used as a primer to get people ready for that type of movie. Then Dr. Strange came along and introduced us to magic in the MCU, and last season SHIELD showed us what that meant for everything beyond the Sanctum Santorum.

Now here we are, in a future where Earth is destroyed and the team has to fight to survive. This is our primer for the type of universe Thanos intends to rule.

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1. I appreciate many things about this show, but want to give special mention to two in particular: Their ability to sneak a Ward into every season to date, and an inability to not show some type of bus. One of the lesser acknowledged members of this team is the Bus, their means of travel in the earlier, more grounded seasons. However, even when the Bus isn’t around, they still manage to fit a bus in to remind us. Props.

2. After watching the last two episodes, I am made of questions. What are those blue roaches? Virgil called them “Vrellnexians,” but I have no clue what that means. Are they the MCU version of the Brood? They’re blue like the Kree, but eat them just the same, so I don’t think they’re something the Kree like, either. What’s with the whiteface Kree? Are they a noble elite class? I would say politicians, but the Kree in Guardians that Nova Prime spoke to didn’t have any such paint or pigmentation. Religious figures? Ronan was a religious fanatic, but he bathed in something with a litte more Red 5. Who is the Alien rocking Talking Heads as he goes about his day? Is he a Kree, but if so that opens so many other questions. What were those drawings on the fridge? Were they his, or did a smaller, Edgar-suit wearing kid of his draw those? What do they mean? Who were those guests at the end of the episode? I didn’t recognize those ships!

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Also, WHY IS THE EARTH GONE MY DUDES? WHY? WHY.

3. Star Prince told Daisy she was the one that fractured the Earth, and the teaser for next week showed him calling her Destroyer of Worlds. First off, that’s a bad ass nickname and I would totally keep it if I were Daisy, whether or not she actually did destroy Earth. Second, I don’t think she’s powerful enough on her own, unless some outside force that has yet to be introduced is, well, introduced.

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Second, wouldn’t throwing Daisy into the future somewhat prevent the cataclysm if Daisy is no longer around to actually do it? So far as time is concerned, Daisy is no longer in the time where whatever happened is supposed to happen. Unless, of course, she is predestined to return to her correct time, which would allow her to do the deed damage. Dammit Agamotto, time travel gives me a headache.

Also, please consider that Tess told the team that no one knows exactly what happened, and that everyone had their own story of what happened. Daisy, Destroyer of Worlds (fuck yeah) just happens to be Deke’s.

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4. The visual effects in these two episodes were tops. TOPS. There were no issues with May’s wig the Trawler, or any other effects. No upper lips were extra uppier, and even Ms. Frazzle’s last trip looked clean. If this is the last season of SHIELD, at least we can say they went out with a bang.

5. Speaking of the Trawler: I got a real Ravager / Knowhere mining ship vibe from that thing. The coloring matched the paint jobs from Guardians and Ragnarok, and and the overall teardrop shape seemed familiar. I love it.

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6. Back to time travel and paradoxes and questions and whatnot: Coulson found an old post card from Lake Ontario with a message of “Working on it.” from Fitz. Seeing how the team is now at least 90 years into the future, Fitz probably had time to write a longer, more detailed message for the team. This suggests two things: He didn’t, because he’s working with Hunter and their antics are those of legend, and he somehow figures out they were transported to the future before they return. Unless he finds out after they get back and bring that note from him, causing him to write the note in the first place. But if they needed the note in the first place, how did he know to write it? DAMMIT AGAMOTTO.

Another thing I noticed: At some point, Fitz goes to Lake Ontario. I can feel it in my nuggets that Lake Ontario is where he meets back up with Hunter.

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7. The humor in this episode was amazing. It’s always on point, but the team’s various reactions to their predicament were spectacular. Coulson wanted answers and to figure out where the FUCK he was. Mack reverted to survival mode, and lead to the best line of the night: When Coulson asked him how hard he hit Virgil, Mack responded: “What do you mean? As hard as I possibly could!” That line dropped me like a half punch from Mack. Well, if he had a half punch, that is. Simmons immediately reverted to problem solver mode, a mode she perfected on Maveth. My second favorite line was delivered by Daisy when she killed the first Vrellnexian: “Right?!” Hell, the whole interaction regarding Coulson’s civvy hand was gold.

Third runner up: “If only we had an ax.” “TOO SOON!” “You do NOT joke about something like that! 

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8. We saw a Kree ax and a 90+ year old 590 Shockwave in suspiciously good condition. Mack, put the two together and make your next Shotgun Ax please!

9. That whole law with owing a life was straight out of the Purge. That was super fucked up. The Kree that were torturing Mack and YoYo thought about using Mack in a gladiator fight that the Grandmaster would scoff at, and it seems that the Kree use the owing a life law to keep the populace on edge and under control. How can they make enough pamphlets if they’re too worried about the next thunderdome?

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10. Apart from the humor, the acting in these episodes was tops as well. From Simmons’ frozen terror of seeing the second Monolith to the scene were the team all finds out that they are at Earth / in the future, everything was super engaging. These actors and actresses deserve praise. PRAISE BE.

11. SHARKNADOS!

12. In Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, we learned that Yondu was adopted by the Kree and used as a Kree battle slave. Yondu got out, but somewhere along the line, he got his hands on a Yaka Arrow, which is apparently native Centaurian technology. Yondu could control the arrow with his feelings and heart and whistle. In the two hour SHIELD premier, did you see anything that reminded you of that? No? Well let me remind you: THOSE FUCKING CRAZY FLOATY STRESS BALLS THAT KEPT FUCKING SHIT UP. Holy crap those things were awesome and freaky and cool and creepy all at the same time. I hope May gets a hold of those at some point, because we all know how well she does with advanced weapons.

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13. I am made of questions. I think the Kree came to Earth to take advantage of the situation after shit went south, and are not responsible for what happened. I think the Kree outpost on “Earth” will shed some light on the Kree-Skrull war, as a primer for Captain Marvel in 2019, which takes place in the 1990s. Otherwise, I’m at a loss for answers. Let me know what you think is going on down below, because SHIELD is back and this is io9. We do the reading. We do the work.